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Composting toilet at Activism Festival 2010 in the mountains outside Jerusalem
A composting toilet is a type of waterless toilet or micro-flush toilet system that uses a predominantly aerobic process to treat human excreta by composting or managed aerobic decomposition . These systems typically use little to no water and may be used as an alternative to flush toilets used with septic systems or sewer systems.  They often are used where no suitable water supply or sewage treatment plant is available. Common applications include national parks , remote holiday/vacation cottages, off-grid homes, and developing countries with limited water and wastewater service.
In some systems, carbon additives such as sawdust , coconut coir , or peat moss is added after each use to create air pockets in the human excreta, improve the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, and reduce potential odor. Most composting toilet systems rely on mesophilic composting as well as retention time to destroy pathogens. A secondary composting of the endproduct in another system is often used to "finish" the compost.
Composting toilets produce a humus-like endproduct that can be used to enrich soil if local regulations allow this. A secondary stage is often needed to allow mesophilic composting to further reduce potential pathogens.
The term "composting toilet" is used quite loosely, and its meaning varies by country. For example, in English-speaking countries, the term "anaerobic composting" (equivalent to anaerobic decomposition ) is used. In Germany and Scandinavian countries, composting always refers to a predominantly aerobic process. This aerobic composting may take place with an increase in temperature due to microbial action, or without a temperature increase in the case of slow composting or cold composting. If earth worms are used ( vermicomposting ) then there is also no increase in temperature.
Composting toilets differ from pit latrines and arborloos , which use less controlled decomposition and may not protect groundwater from nutrient or pathogen contamination or provide optimal nutrient recycling. They also differ from urine-diverting dry toilets (UDDTs) where pathogen reduction is achieved through dehydration (also known by the more precise term " desiccation ") and where the feces collection vault is kept as dry as possible. Composting toilets aim to have a certain degree of moisture in the composting chamber.
Composting toilets usually do not…